10 ways to improve your export success
by Darren Holdway - Managing Partner on 29 July 2012
Did you know that only around 20% of British SMEs export goods and services abroad? In Europe that figure is closer to a quarter of SMEs.
In many cases companies that trade overseas grow faster and do better than those that don’t. In spite of this and the Government encouraging more international trade, many businesses still don’t take the plunge or make a success of trading around the world. Why?
Many businesses enter into foreign markets because of circumstances rather than strategic and thorough planning. Sometimes it’s that they have been contacted by someone abroad with an interest and they begin to think about setting up operations in that country.
So here’s my top tips on how to improve your export success:
1) Make exporting a part of your overall business strategy. Include a longer term plan for developing export sales.
2) Carefully and strategically pick the markets you are considering entering into. Don’t just be prompted by an email or a phone call enquiry.
3) Assess each of the markets picked on how easy they are to enter and the sizes of the markets.
4) If you haven’t exported before start with easier markets such as Ireland and work up to more difficult markets, such as China as you gain experience.
5) Do your desk research. Be thorough in your pursuit of knowledge about the market you are entering. Visit websites, subscribe to publications and read reports.
6) Once you’ve done your desk research, visit the country. Talk to people buying similar products – go and buy a similar product yourself, go to trade fairs and seminars and talk to potential customers.
7) Assess all the information you have gathered and keep thinking strategically. Don’t make decisions on your first visit. Come back to the UK and digest the information.
8) Seek help. Don’t think you can do it all yourself. Talk to consulate offices, banks and chartered accountants with good international connections (like Haines Watts who have excellent connections through our international alliance, GGI. Plug over!)
9) Don’t think you know better! Many countries are more advanced in their thinking and processes. Learn from them, rather than preaching to them.
10) Be prepared to travel. Begin to see the world as a smaller place and be prepared to hop on planes at short notice to meet people.
Be bold but not reckless. Plan, research then commit and you are more likely to succeed.
If you want further information, use our online form to get in touch.